Tuesday, March 01, 2011
40

Update: The road border at Wajajah (commonly referred to as the UAE side, Hatta, is currently closed - no road traffic in or out at the moment.

Another Update: The British Ambassador and Vice Consul are travelling to Sohar today to meet members of the British and un-represented Commonwealth community.  Our travel advice remains in effect stating that 'you should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.'  

Traffic jams are occurring around the Port area and Globe roundabout.  No western interests are being targeted by demonstrators.

If you are in the Sohar area and wish to meet with the British Ambassador and Vice Consul they will be at the Sohar Beach hotel by 18:00 (6pm) tonight. 


Well it seems like there was another night of antics up in Sohar, but nothing on the same scale as before - the picture above is actually from the night before, Sunday night.

Many people have received a text message from the following number: +968 9400 4048. The message is below in both Arabic, and Google Translate's best attempt at English. Note that this is not an official message from the Government and is not to be taken as such. This is just a speculative rumour at this point.

Arabic:
لا يا شباب ندائي لكم جميعا لا تنخدعوا مثلما انخدعت و انخدع غيري بأن المظاهرة في صحار ليست بريئة فهي مدفوعة من الخارج و إلا لما يصرون على تقطيع أوصال اقتصادنا باستهداف الميناء و المنطقة الصناعية و قطع الطرق ، الحذر الحذر. نعم نختلف في بعض الأمور مع الحكومة و لكن لا يمكن المساس بالمقومات و إلا سندفع الثمن غاليا، نعم هذه المظاهرة مدفوعة من الإماراتيين، أقول بعض الجهات الرسمية فيها و ليس الشعب، شعب الإمارا يتألم ما يحصل في عمان من تخريب

English:
No, my appeal to all of you young people do not be fooled just as deceived and deceived others that the demonstration in Sohar is not innocent they are paid from abroad and only to insist on the dismemberment of our economy by targeting the port and industrial area and cut off roads, so beware. Yes we disagree on some things with the government, but can not be jeopardizing and only pay the price dearly, Yes, this demonstration was driven from UAE, I would say some of the official and not the people, the people of Ar suffer what is happening in Amman from sabotage


---
An Anonymous commenter (at 8:35pm last night) on the previous blog post, they described their journey from Dubai to Muscat via Hatta, its well worth a read, I've pasted it here:
Anonymous said...

I returned to Oman from the UAE (via the Hatta border) and came through Shinas roundabout at exactly 12noon today (monday). I really had to ring around when I was in the UAE to see if I could make it back safe with my wife and two toddlers in the car. We were very concerned, but HAD to get back to Muscat ASAP, so we made the decision to proceed. Speaking to a car dealership representative in Sohar, he suggested I get to the Safeer well before the Globe, and hook left at that roundabout, run parallel to the highway and get back on just before the Sohar gate.

As we entered Shinas, the roundabout was on fire - tyres in a pile being burnt in two spots.
 

What we were not prepared for was the roundabout before the Safeer! The road leading to the port was blocked, and all entry and exits into the R/A were blocked by trucks (with bricks chocking their tyres). There were at least 500 people, most wearing balaclavas and head scarfs shielding their faces/identities. It was extremely frightening. They tried to stop us, and we ploughed through. I managed to squeeze past a hilux that was blocking the entry, and drove straight up to a truck blocking our exit. I mounted the curb to exit the roundabout on the sidewalk, heading towards muscat.
 

There was ABSOLUTELY NO police presence ANYWHERE! We got to the Safeer, hooked into the inside road, and Military were everywhere - especially in front of the ministry buildings behind the university. All of the petrol stations were closing, but we managed to refuel with a black-smoke-belching Lulu in the near distance.
 

Once we made it onto the highway (near the Sohar gate) at approximately 1:30pm we saw at least 50 armoured vehicles traveling from Muscat towards Sohar. No police, just military. Fire trucks, water trucks - water canons? big guns and about 20 buses with riot police. Then what looked like a delegation and more armoured vehicles. It was endless.
 

We made it back, but their seem to be so many conflicting reports. Some saying stone throwing at expats etc.. All we had was what I described above. We are clearly expats, and we were not attacked. We were, however, very very scared trying to get through to Muscat.
 

There is a serious military presence at the Hatta border.
February 28, 2011 8:35 PM 


However, this morning things seem to be much calmer. There are conflicting reports coming from Sohar this morning, and so it's hard to say what is actually going on. Here are the facts (few at the moment!):


  • Regular commuter traffic is virtually non-existent this morning in Sohar.
  • It appears that some roundabouts (or just the round about by the Sohar Port) is still blocked.
  • Today at 4pm a Pro Sultan parade of support is planned at the Sulatan Qaboos Mosque.
  • The Minister of Health, Ahmed Al Saidi, reports only 1 death, un-named hospital workers report 6 deaths.
  • It is business as usual here in Muscat so far.
I'd like to comment on something now.... The Omani Rial is pegged to the US $. As the US $ has been declining in the world market, the cost of consumables has increased, which has increased the cost of living here in Oman through no fault of the Government here. So what $1 could buy 2 years ago, you now need more than $1. This increase is tracked as inflation and we're seeing it reported in the 5-10% range. Something that I've yet to see discussed on any of the news outlets. 


In other news, Oman thrashed Iraq 11-3 in their group match at the FIFA beach soccer World Cup Asia Qualifier - well done boys! Also, if you havent already, please feel free to enter my competition to win 2 free tickets to the 30 Seconds to Mars concert on March 10th.


le fin.

40 comments:

PALOT said...

i heard the same thing about this, that the protesters were paid for by UAE. it's just rumors though. but lets all hope this will all die down peacefully.

Anonymous said...

Being blind to reality not only in the streets but in your own home is what has gotten us to this point. Reality is that Oman has one of the largest young population in GCC majority unemployed with no income and no alternatives like unemployment benfits. Saying that there men with families also unemployed and giving them OR 150 per month isnt sufficient either in todays economy. Time for the system to wake up and face the New Oman in 21st Century. As for the Pro-Qaboos demonstrator - it is well known that majority of them are settlers brought over when he came into power who are actually the main problem in Oman as they became the favoured Yes Sir Brigade who have benefitted over the real Omani or people who have been there for yonks. As for the Message sent by Mobile - it was laughed at by many as delusional excuse. The new generation are not blind and internet has opened up a wealth of knowledge to them about the truth of the matters once hidden. So burying your head in the sand isnt going to solve any thing but fester bigger problems in the future. Best to deal with it now once and for all but not by silencing them with brute force - it no longer works as we have seen in Egypt and Libya. Those who became Omanis are not the majority and not your danger as they will do anything to appease their bread and butter and when worse comes to the worse they will do a runner as they have done before from whereever they came from. Its your majority whose home has always been that land.

bahman2000 said...

If inflation was only a factor of the dollar peg then inflation in Oman should be equal to inflation in the USA.

Obviously not the case, as seen here:
http://www.fintrend.com/inflation/Inflation_Rate/HistoricalInflation.aspx

Globally the price of food is rising, not just in dollar pegged economies. A much greater factor affecting the price of food and consumables is the price of crude. All this is being heavily discussed in all major news outlets.

Anonymous said...

Y does any of the world currency need to be pegged to the US dollar it can be changed!But the US wont let that cause that on the whole is another political scam!Do not be fooled people!Inflation is totally unnecessary!There is a way out which could be peacefully achieved!Claiming that omani dollar is pegged to US dollar and we cant do anything is the biggest lie!Where there is a will there is a way!The US is trying to keep control of the region through money and the common people pay the price for it.

Anonymous said...

Moreover the biggest threat faced by our world is Fiat currency and banking systems like Fractional Reserve system!If the people do not fight these evils!Infact the biggest of them all!we all are bound to doom no matter who comes into power!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the updates, Sythe. Appreciate it greatly. Have a nice day:-)

Anonymous said...

GUYS We have THE BEST RULER IN THE WORLD. Who is a TRUE LEADER, A FATHER , And a Supporter for us. So no need to Worry About Oman Because he Has Trained his people how to protect their OWEN NATION For example Gonu we hold hands together to help people who were effected.

For Generations Oman Has been one of the most Peaceful Country in the world. Despite everything we solved the problems in no time.

People Of Oman the NEW LAW will be beneficial for the Omanis and Non-Omanis just Hold ON and Things will Change. Please Stop Spreading Rumors which can effect a lot and stop blaming other countries where we dunno the facts. Oman has never any problems with any other countries in the world so please stop creating problem for unnecessarily.


Guys in every part of the world there is a advantages and disadvantages look at the bright side of it we are a peaceful country where we are not suppose to say this not enough and this is enough think before we talk we still have opportunities we are better than any other NATIONS

GOD BLESS H.M Sultan Qaboos

Anonymous said...

I am an expatriate and feel sorry about whatever has happened, shouldn't have.. Actually I support the move to at least make the Government and Elite think off the real issues. Even promising and giving jobs, paying RO150 to the unemployed, escalating Omanization levels will not resolve. There is a need of big revolution to take out the corrupt officials and businesses; It is required at this point in time not only to do accountability of their assets and freezing of their unaccounted wealth, cancelling their business hold but to penalize them. Dissolve the big business giants like Bahwan who has taken up agencies of all the vehicles for indefinite period for the whole country!!! just imagin does this make any sense?? , abolish the hold of Hypermarkets who are pricing according to their choice, Cancel the licenses of giants like Muscat Pharmacy who is controlling the overall medicine agencies for Oman for indefinite period, the success lies in promoting and establishing Entrepreneurship by getting rid of conglomerate .. There are many more examples ..A balanced approach and policy is required

Anonymous said...

excuse me sir what is bahwan to do in that .. it is harden money don't bring which you don't that facts

Anonymous said...

Very well said - the monopoly on products should be avoided and it should be made more general.

Some of the protestors were shouting out some names of officers in Civil Defence and Ministry of Health who are supporting business in monopolising the Oman market.

Anonymous said...

Dur....Anonymous. Bahwan & muscat pharmacy (wonder who owns them!!!) given as an example of business giants who monopolize dealerships in Oman. It's not rocket science.

Anonymous said...

The names of the corrupt officer in Ministry of Health is Mr.Ali AKA Dr.Ali ,some one from the higher authorities or ISS should visit his home and it is sure that they can understand where the money for Minsitry of Healt Project is vanishing.The office name in Civil Defence is Harib.

All these days they were very powerful and influential but from here on this will the end for corruption in Oman and these money launderers will be dismissed immedietly by HM for sure

Anonymous said...

Considering how much oil Oman exports, there should be greater wealth amongst the population. Nobody should be starving! There should also be no unemployment. There are plenty of jobs, somebody just has to do them. I can see a house being built next door, however there is no local worker on the construction site! The road outside my house is also being built by foreigners. I see huge trucks on the highway and all are being driven by foreigners. I see nurses and helpers at my sons school, but they are all foreigners (a few of the teachers are local!). The maid who comes to clean my house three times a week is also a foreigner. My tailor, the man at the petrol pump, my baker, the guy who washes my car at the shopping center and my accountant are all non Omanis. As I said, there are plenty of jobs, but somebody has to actually want to do them!

Anonymous said...

I dont think any omanis will want to work as a Maid or barber or tailor.

I am sure that no Omanis will want to wash the car or do cleaning job to make a living.

The main point is to stop corruption by firing the money helders for personal benifit when they are given funds for development of country and citizens

Anonymous said...

Bahwan or Bagwan is not Omani but became Omani like Khimji, Zawawi, Towell, Haider Darwish etc etc. And none are Arabs from the region and all appear after Sultan came into power. And these guys hold the monopoly to everything and no one has a right to compete with them. The original people of Muscat lost their lands by force in the 70's in a bid to surround the area with foreigners who will never question or oppose anything. So give us all a break and stop talking like we are all ignorant of such facts. This is one of the major problems which has been festering for decades now.

Anonymous said...

Omanis don't want to work, have no work discipline, and cannot embrace a new attitude towards work. work is yuck, free money is good.

Anonymous said...

Bahwan or Bagwan is not Omani but became Omani like Khimji, Zawawi, Towell, Haider Darwish etc etc. And none are Arabs from the region and all appear after Sultan came into power. And these guys hold the monopoly to everything and no one has a right to compete with them. The original people of Muscat lost their lands by force in the 70's in a bid to surround the area with foreigners who will never question or oppose anything. So give us all a break and stop talking like we are all ignorant of such facts. This is one of the major problems which has been festering for decades now.


YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG SIR THESE GUYS ARE IN BUSINESSESS IN 1800s ONWARDS GO GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT

Anonymous said...

The might have been in business since the 1800s but they are not Omani. They came from India, set up business, converted to Islam and were given Omani passports. They hold the monopoly and that's a fact.

Anonymous said...

Wow... I didn't know that Bahwan was a non-Omani....

They do have the monopoly in all the markets. I think its funny that cars are cheaper in the United states than Oman. You can import a car to Oman for just around $2000 and it will still cost you less!

However, His majesty is a great and wise ruler. I am not an Omani but my children are. And because they WANTED to work, they all went out to look for jobs. They all found good jobs on their first interview, because they were serious about finding jobs. My son even managed to get a job that gave him a car. They are all only high school graduates. Yes, they are half western but i do not think that counted when they applied for the jobs. Their language skills did however, they wanted Omanis that could speak both English and Arabic.

My two step daughters that are pure Omanis and do not speak fluent English also got jobs on their first interviews, again only high school graduates... because they wanted to work. When an employer sees a will in the applicant, he or she is willing to give the youth a try. But when they go for interviews ungroomed and acting as they don't give a crap, what employer would want to hire them?

Muscat Mutter Paneer said...

Who is really Omani and what does it mean to be Omani? There is a lot of talk about the Indian traders who set up shops here and are now the big guns, but how far back do you want to go to find out who is Omani?

From the 3rd-7th century AD Persians ruled these parts. But int he 1st century it was Yemenis who made it up to the north of the Sultanate.

Anyway, back to my question, is Omani a nature? a religious belief? A characteristic? Or a true people who have a promised homeland... oh oh, now we're going into some murky waters!

Anonymous #1001 said...

"I dont think any omanis will want to work as a Maid or barber or tailor.

I am sure that no Omanis will want to wash the car or do cleaning job to make a living.

The main point is to stop corruption by firing the money helders for personal benifit when they are given funds for development of country and citizens."


Dear Anon - do you realize how ridiculous you sound?

And this one -

"The original people of Muscat lost their lands by force in the 70's in a bid to surround the area with foreigners who will never question or oppose anything."

Really??? And Omanis are people who constantly "question or oppose"? ... I am laughing sooo hard now!

Are you guys that incapable of being even a little bit self-critical?

According to you, all of you are just dying to clean the streets, toilets, to do anything at all, because you are sooo hard-working, but the corrupt people they don't want to give it to you because they are not truly Omani, they give your jobs to foreigners.

I may not be Omani - but I, and others, am not stupid!

You want to stop corruption in government? How about you stop corruption first on a personal level? Hmm? How about you stop being corrupted and using wasta to get your driver's license, pass your classes, etc. Maybe then you would actually have the right to ask for others to stop being corrupted!

I personally know many Omanis who are well-employed and who did not have to use wasta - but they deserve their jobs! However, the ones I hear complaining - well, I wouldn't trust them enough to hire them as my maid!

This Anon said it all -

"I am not an Omani but my children are. And because they WANTED to work, they all went out to look for jobs. They all found good jobs on their first interview, because they were serious about finding jobs. My son even managed to get a job that gave him a car. They are all only high school graduates. Yes, they are half western but i do not think that counted when they applied for the jobs. Their language skills did however, they wanted Omanis that could speak both English and Arabic.

My two step daughters that are pure Omanis and do not speak fluent English also got jobs on their first interviews, again only high school graduates... because they wanted to work. When an employer sees a will in the applicant, he or she is willing to give the youth a try. But when they go for interviews ungroomed and acting as they don't give a crap, what employer would want to hire them?"

Anonymous said...

SME are major employers in any country of the world. Conglomerates need to reshuffled and doing business, starting business should be made much more easier here in Oman. Just a pieace of thought to my indian friends that It is much easier to get car say of 15000/ on installments than to get financing for business.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Thank you for the updates.

I have been out of the loop in Muscat.

Anonymous said...

Wow....very happy to know that everything is fininshed in less than a day...long live HM.

The sultans supporters march was very successful and all the citizens seems to understand and agree to give time to the government.

The corrupt officers list is made by the concerned authorities and will be taken care of very seriously,if any one knows more names of corrupt officers then please post it.

Anonymous said...

Wow - Anon 1001 - extremely clever man presumable one of them trying to defend his right to be there oh yes and lets not forget Mr.Paneer too. Obvious from what you have written. Who are the original Omani - well definately not the opportunistic Brit favourite no.1 Indian traders who were living in Muscat and definately not the opportunistic Brit favourite no.2 Zanzibar wo have no loyalty to the country but only the hands that feed themonly. Werent they the majority at the Pro-protest as they are all employed in the most sensitive position like in Oil Companies. These two nationailties are also the most employed at all their Embassies out here.

P.KUMAR said...

I have been following ur factual reports daily ever since the protests in sohar started....Not a single incident has been reported against any expatriate But it is dafe to be cautious. Avoid going to protest gatherings. LULU R/A and Port R/A are closed. Few protesters are there in Mornings and with rising Sun the numbers increase...as the reverse is true for the ROP or Military presence..It was a Free for all situation in LULU for 2 days in presence of ROP personnel( watching with folded hands)...women and men looting lulu...that gave an impression that life is insecure....Today as I write huge numbers have gathered in front Sohar police station...There was firing on Port R/A in the mornings and few people were arrested for trying to vandalise Bank Muscat in Liwa north of Sohar...

Anonymous said...

Ok I think this is the end of all the problems in Oman.The roads are all open and the city is the same as it was last week.

We just took as full drive till muthrah and back to seeb - I love muscat again :)

Anonymous said...

It seems the problems are sorted out only in Muscat but sohar is not very good.

Anonymous said...

Who is this Dr.Ali in Ministry of health- is he a doctor ???

How can a doctor be corrupt...does he takes money from patients ?

Who is officer Harib in civil defence ?

Anonymous said...

Dr.Ali controls all the tenderes in Ministry of Health - he doesn not take money from any patients but he could take from the contractors as all the tenders is under his control and he decided which one does what - wow what a job :)

I dont know who is inspector Harib in civil defence.

Anonymous said...

These people must me in jail and their wealth should be freezed and given to the poor.

Anonymous said...

Is any caught ???

Anonymous said...

Video on sohar protest - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjtaGZV7KSI

Anonymous said...

Catching these people will be step 2 after investigation but the step 1 will be to get the job opportunities,cutting down living cost and increasing salary.

Sad that people in Ministry of Health and Civil Defence are corrupt and cheating th country by passing and promoting for personal benefits

Anonymous said...

my brother from india is in muscat currently working for some company. Our family in india is concerned about his well being. How serious is the situation in muscat?

Should he return back to India until things settle down or it is not that serious.

Thanks a ton for your views.

Anonymous said...

Suddenly people are concerned I see After so may years..... Bahwan is a company run by some crooked bunch of people who use Indian work force as cheap labour. They make them work excessive hours every day for pea nuts. but who ever you see sitting in an office in that big building are paid high to make sure these Indian workers or so called executives work beyond their physical and mental capacity. Its ironic. Inidians running a Indian slave camp.

Anonymous said...

CHEAP LABOUR... LOL

Anonymous said...

Yes employees in Bahwan are even working for 60riyals per month !!!

It is good to know that Omanis will now get 150 riyals even if they dont work

Anonymous said...

Any update on the corrupt government employees

Anonymous said...

please note its not mr m bahwan who is not paying... he has to be respected... its the bloody f------g indians .. the so called advisers. Mr Bahwan or the company not to be blamed.. Due respect to Late Mr Saud Bahwan. He did not know what was done to lower level staff whether indian or omani.

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